Winter Warmer Cooking for One!
Cooking for one can be a bit overwhelming for some, especially after a busy day at work but for somebody like be, who has been cooking for crowds for so many years, it’s a bit boring and a much greater challenge than I had imagined!
I’ve always been in favor of healthy cooking and have often thought of myself as an expert in coming up with a variety of simple, tasty and easy to make dishes. However, since I was widowed last year I realized at some point that I was basically eating lots of salads and egg/veggie dishes that I could whip up in a few minutes and did not cover a full range of nutrients that my body needed.
Fortunately, I’ve come to my senses so to speak and have embraced partially cooking and prepping ingredients for convenient meals that are big in flavor and can be frozen in individual portions, re-heated, enhanced or embellished according to my mood, schedule and weather! Best of all, this gives me the freedom of mixing things up a bit that have resulted in my eating healthier, tasty meals without much fuzz and minimal waste!
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about here are a few twists of a traditional Greek Spetsofai, a sausage and pepper casserole, that reflects the possibilities of making some great tasting comfort food without too much effort . . . on a cold winter day with lots of snow here in Athens!
Since I have just uploaded a recipe for a Spetsofai casserole onto the website I won’t go into the recipe as such but I’m going to tell you about the ingredients I used to make the various dishes . . . and leave the rest to you to change, make and eat the food to your heart’s desire!
For the first casserole I used partially boiled, peeled & sliced potatoes, sautéed eggplants, peppers, chopped onion, sliced sausages, grated tomatoes + canned peeled & chopped tomatoes, fresh parsley and crumbled Feta cheese that I layered in an oven proof dish and cooked in the oven that gave me quite a bit of extra tasty veggie/Feta sauce that I used in my 2nd dish.
Here I used stewed veggie/Feta cheese sauce, without the few left-over potato slices, as a base for my dish and topped it with a few pieces of sausages that were left over from the first batch that I mixed with additional sausage slices, this time sautéed in a wee bit of olive oil together with sliced bell pepper (an orange one), cooked beans (that I had in the freezer pre-cooked and frozen in individual portions) and a pinch of dried oregano.
For the 3rd dish I embellished the veggie/Feta cheese sauce with another portion of the cooked beans from the freezer, diced tomatoes + juice (from can) a few sautéed cherry tomatoes and chopped fresh parsley since I didn't have any fresh thyme . . . that would have been perfect! This meal I served on top of a half baked potato (cooked in the microwave) with decorative mesclun salad greens drizzled with a wee bit of extra virgin olive oil . . . and Icelandic lava and herb salt to the side!
While photographing this last version, I thought instead of a potato, why not make this dish into a sandwich luncheon! Well, I did and the truth be told, of the two version I tasted, I liked it better as a sandwich . . . especially since it was made with a yummy, toasted sourdough rye bread from KORA, one of my favorite local bakeries!
Another fun part of this exercise were the many surprised gazes of passers-by who, from the street level, saw me enjoying the food with a glass of wine while photographing the dishes on my balcony . . . in snow laden, cold Athens!
I’m sure they thought I was a bit nuts . . . but I just couldn’t help myself and laughed . . . enjoying the moment in this rare winter wonderland with tasty winter warming food cooked for one!
. . . with a glass of Merlot from the Skouras Winery!